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Subject: Re: question about coloratura singing - other than sopranos
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 28 May 2017 20:21:07 -0400
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Good point. 

The word coloratura itself ("colored") really simply refers to florid, melismatic, ornamented 
singing, regardless of voice range or period style. In fact, I would call the showy riffing that 
many pop singers use nowadays (which also stems from gospel and from jazz 
scat/improv, etc) to be a pop form of coloratura. (I know those of you that seem to have 
this instant uninformed dread of popular music will start now immediately clutching your 
pearls, and I will have no patience for such idiocy, so just calm down.)

But Jason is right - even before the bel canto era as we know it, ALL voice types were 
expected to have some command of florid singing, and knowledge in proper forms of 
ornamentation - just as instrumentalists would be expected to be able to ornament *their* 
music. One can find endless examples in Handel and Bach, for instance. Look at all the 
florid singing required from not just all 4 soloists, but every section of the chorus - in 
"Messiah." The Bach cantatas are full of coloratura passages, let alone the Magnificat and 
the Passions - and hardly just for the sopranos.

And - it's not always written just to be canary-like. Handel making Polythemus sing all 
those florid passages in "O Ruddier Than The Cherry" just points up how comically pitiful he 
is, in his jealous rage. And Bach gives the usually declaiming Evangelist a rare moment of 
coloratura-like word painting in the St. John Passion, when he describes the flogging of 
Jesus. (Bach gives him one other achingly beautiful moment of slow florid singing to 
describe Peter's bitter crying later on. We may not want to agree to call this "coloratura" 
as it's not fast and showy as we tend to think of coloratura's usual nature - but I just 
wanted to note it as an extremely moving passage.)


On Sun, 28 May 2017 16:11:42 -0700, Jason Victor Serinus <[log in to unmask]> 
wrote:

>Finally, if you turn to early music, you
>won't know where to stop, regardless of vocal range.

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